Your Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Sir, we welcome you to the United States! We thank you sincerely for this opportunity to meet with us, the Nigerian community here in the USA. Your Excellency, since we anticipated that our meeting would be quite brief due to your tight schedule, the Nigerian Diaspora in the Americas, under the auspice of NIDOA, decided to pen down some of our thoughts and concerns that we would like your noble office to hear and address. As Nigerians living in the Diaspora, we are eager and willing to effectively partner with the Federal Government and people of Nigeria to help bring about the much needed economic and infrastructural development to our country.
First, we would like to thank the Federal Government for establishing NIDO in 2001 as the umbrella organization for all Nigerians living outside its shores. Ever since, NIDO has taken the lead in coordinating and harnessing the affairs of Nigerians in the Diaspora and contributing enormous human and financial capital to the development of our dear country, Nigeria. It is no longer news that, on the average, Nigerian Diaspora officially remits $22B annually, this is according to Work Bank report. Indeed, it makes sense and can be argued that Nigerian Diaspora is the biggest employer of labor in Nigeria because the remittances are used as earned incomes for many households to pay school fees, set up businesses, pay hospital bills, build houses, maintain communal relationships, etc.
Secondly, Your Excellency, Nigerians in Diaspora would like to express our profound gratitude to your administration for signing into law the Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) bill which has now become an Act. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the National Assembly for the speedy passage of the said bill. We are honored that NIDO is accorded a prominent role in the NIDCOM hierarchy. We urge and appeal to you Mr. President to complete this history by effectively setting up the Commission and cause it to be operational so Diaspora can effectively utilize the platform for collaboration in bringing about the much-needed socio-economic development to our great country, Nigeria.
In “Pursuance of National Unity and Development”
At this time, Your Excellency, please permit me to bring to your attention some of the things that NIDO would pray your good office and the Federal Government of Nigeria to address on behalf of diaspora:
1. We would like the fund to be appropriated in next year’s budget to fully fund and implement NIDCOM
2. Great but regrettably, slow strides have been made in bequeathing to Nigerian diaspora, the right to vote. Initial opposition to this modern-day global mechanism in governance has thinned down, if not eliminated. Thanks in part to the positive disposition of your administration on this matter. However, Mr. President, we cannot allow a matter of this importance to the Diaspora to be bugged down in administrative bottlenecks. We count you, Mr. president, to put the necessary machinery in place to get this accomplished soonest. To this end, we are ready and willing to partner with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to collate a credible data base that will be helpful in accomplishing the Diaspora Voting Right. In “Pursuance of National Unity and Development”
3. The notion of Economic diplomacy initiated by your administration and anchored by your indefatigable Minister of Foreign Affairs is laudable. NIDO desires and indeed is well placed to help in driving this investment tool for Nigeria. We wish to see a closer and more formal and informal collaboration between us and the office of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs being headed by this Excellency, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama
4. In the spirit of collaboration, we would like the Federal Government to set aside specific portfolios at the ministerial level for qualified Nigerian Diaspora who wish to serve our country.
5. NIDO is proposing the establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to help in a smoother and more modern means of importing technology to Nigeria. Nigerian Diaspora has been in the news for break-throughs in all fields of Human endeavors; be it in Medicine, Science, Technology, Art, Media and Publicity, etc. We just need this vehicle to help us achieve what the likes of Indian Diaspora has achieved. This will help to grow the economy and create millions of jobs. In this vein also, we pray the Federal Government to make it easy for Diaspora Experts who want to volunteer their time to teach at all levels of the Nigerian tertiary institutions
6. We also wish that your office mandates all Ministry Department Administrators (MDAs) to speed up PPP projects with Diaspora but with NIDO as the clearing house.
7. We would want your office to speed up the establishment of the Diaspora Housing Project with the Federal Housing Authority’s PPP division.
8. We request your office to be a strong partner to NIDCOM when fully established.
Signed:_Obed Monag Signed: Mansur Mustapha Engr. Obed Monago Mr. Mansur Femi Mustapha Chairman, Board of Trustees, NIDOA Secretary General, Board of Trustees, NIDOA